Deputies: Polk carjacking suspect in custody

Wesley Grace's new mugshot. Image courtesy PCSO.

POLK COUNTY, FL (WFLA) – Polk County deputies have the carjacking suspect from Bartow in custody.

Detectives said this is the man who had shot at a sheriff’s office helicopter several days ago while fleeing the authorities. According to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office, the suspect was taken into custody peacefully Saturday morning.

The Polk County Sheriff’s Office on Friday night identified the man who they say carjacked a commercial truck and then later shot at a sheriff’s office helicopter while he was fleeing authorities. Wesley Thomas Grace, 31, was on the run and is believed to have stolen a fuel truck. While fleeing the authorities, Grace was seen by the PCSO helicopter pilot turning north onto Mammoth Grove Road, and into an orange grove. He ran away from the stolen truck, firing a handgun at the PCSO helicopter in the air overhead. He did not hit the chopper or the pilot.

You can read more about the carjacking and the chase here.

About 6 a.m. Saturday Polk deputies received the information that the stolen fuel truck was parked in a cul-de-sac on Saddlewood Boulevard in Lakeland. According to the call received, Grace was seen armed and wearing camouflage, walking away from the truck into a nearby wooded area .

Polk County Sheriff’s Office units, including the PCSO helicopter, responded to the area to set up a perimeter, and the SWAT team began staging on Rockridge Road, according to the PCSO arrest report. Deputies secured the stolen fuel truck. It is now being processed by the crime scene investigators.

While the SWAT team was staging, another call came in from a home on Moore Road in Lakeland. The victim said that a male suspect covered in dirt and wearing camouflage stole her GMC Sierra four-door pickup truck that was parked on her property.

Deputies responded to that scene and helped the victim activate On-Star technology to find the stolen truck. The suspect description matched that of Wesley Grace.

The truck was seen by Lake Hamilton PD officers and was soon located by On-Star GPS in Haines City. The PCSO helicopter began following the truck. The truck turned onto White Clay Pit Road, and the suspect got out of the truck and ran into an orange grove, and then into a grape arbor.

He was only wearing either shorts or some underwear, deputies said.

The PCSO helicopter pilot directed units on the ground to Grace’s location, and he was apprehended by a PCSO K9 team around 9 a.m. He was taken to a hospital to be treated for his dog bite wounds, deputies said.

Grace had Polk warrants for his arrest for aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, use of a firearm during a felony, and possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He will be booked into the Polk County Jail for those charges. He is also the suspect in the Bartow carjacking, shooting at PCSO helicopter, and theft of the fuel truck.

Here is the full list of Grace’s charges so far (69 total):

1 count Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle (Theft of ATV committed May 1, 2016, on Juniper Drive in Dundee);

4 counts Grand Theft of Firearm

1 count Armed Residential Burglary

1 count Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon

1 count Possession of Ammunition by Convicted Felon (Theft of 3 rifles and a shotgun, ammo, tools, and jewelry, committed May 1, 2016, during a residential burglary on North Scenic Hwy in Lake Wales);

1 count Grand Theft

1 count Trespass

(Theft of ATV & trespassing on private property committed May 12, 2016, on Lake Mabel Loop Road in Waverly);

2 counts Grand Theft

(Theft of Ford F-250 pickup truck with motorized wheelchair in the back, committed May 21, 2016, on Timberlane Rd in Lake Wales);

1 count Grand Theft

1 count Trespass

(Theft of golf cart & trespassing on private property committed May 24, 2016, on North Scenic Hwy in Dundee);

1 count Grand Theft (Theft of ATV committed on May 25, 2016, on Vista Del Lago Blvd in Dundee);

1 count Grand Theft (Theft of trailer with a bicycle on it, committed June 12, 2016, on Canal Road in Lake Wales);

1 count Attempted Grand Theft (Attempted theft by hot wiring of Peterbilt semi truck committed between June 11-13, 2016, on Bannon Island Road in Haines City);

1 count Structure Burglary

1 count Attempted Grand Theft

(Attempted theft of a Kubota tractor from a storage area on the property – the tractor crashed & got stuck on a fence on the property, committed on June 18, 2016, on Lake Hatchineha Road in Lake Wales);

1 count Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle (Theft of 2006 Kia committed on June 12, 2016, on Avalon Road in Kissimmee – Kia later found on fire in Dundee, now an arson case being investigated by State Fire Marshal);

3 counts Grand Theft of Firearms

1 count Grand Theft of Motor Vehicle

1 count Grand Theft

1 count Armed Business Burglary

1 count Possession of Firearm by Convicted Felon

1 count Possession Ammo by Convicted Felon (Theft from a warehouse office of 2 handguns, a rifle, ammo, gun case, and a laptop, committed between June 15-22, 2016, on Ingram Ranch Road in Haines City);

1 count Structure Burglary

1 count Grand Theft

(Theft of go-cart from a detached garage, committed between June 20-22, 2016, on Poe Road in Lake Wales).

 

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